Two Units to Pilot First Phase of New Research Administration System

Two Units to Pilot First Phase of New Research Administration System

By Kay Stevens BeasockUniversity Information Technology Services
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Researchers at The University of Arizona, one of the top 20 public research universities in the United States, bring in more than a half a billion dollars of external funding each year, creating thousands of jobs for Arizona residents and supporting businesses throughout the state. But the current grant proposal routing process is entirely paper based and the Sponsored Projects Information System is outdated and does not provide reporting that is needed in research administration, reducing the University's ability to compete for grants and contracts.

These issues will be addressed with the implementation of the Kuali Coeus Research Administration system, or KCRA system. It's part of the Mosaic Project, an overhaul of the UA's administrative systems.

"Implementation of the KRCA software will enable the University to take a giant step in providing infrastructure support for research, and in better integrating research information with other information," said Hank Childers, director of the Mosaic Project.

With the new system – which will convert the paper-based grant proposal submission into an electronic process – a central database will store information about proposals, awards, sponsors and much more.

As with the Kuali Financial System, the UA has been heavily involved in the specification and development of the KCRA software through the Kuali Foundation. The KCRA software is being developed in phases, and will be implemented at the UA in corresponding phases. The implementation of the pre-award module on July 1, 2009, will be one of the first implementations of the KCRA software. It will support building budgets for proposals, and then constructing and submitting proposals through the grants.gov interface. Later phases will address post-award processes.

The KCRA implementation team will pilot the application in two representative areas – the chemistry department and the Arizona Respiratory Center. This pilot will begin around January or February 2009, well in advance of the July 2009 overall target. The pilot approach will serve as a trial of the new software in important but limited areas and will allow a controlled introduction.

During the pilot, the two units will be trained on several different functions. The Proposal Preparation module includes three primary functions that work together – the Proposal Routing Form for collecting and distilling proposal information for institutional review and approvals; the Proposal Components feature provides a place to attach/upload proposal components for electronic proposal submission and for institutional retention; and Grants.gov, the federal government's electronic portal for receiving and processing grant applications.

"The new online routing proposal routing form will make it easier for researchers and their staff to submit proposals and route for signatures," explained Paul Sandoval, KCRA implementation director.

The Budget Development Module will complete the proposal process. After a short trial period, the pilot will be expanded to include other departments.

To schedule a demonstration of the system, please contact Sandoval at sandovar@email.arizona.edu.

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